What can affect the amount of malted barley you use in a single malt?

edited March 2019 in Recipes

I see a lot of recipes calling for different amounts of grain to water.

There are some saying 4kg others saying 6kg to 30litres, others saying up to 13kg per 30litres.

First off, what would be the ideal range of malted barley to use.

And second, what factors cause for there to be a difference, is it the amount of sugars a particular style of barley has, is it because of using husks?

And should any of these be considered when looking to make big batches, or does a general recipe work just as well?


  • I kind of approach that backwards. A mash of 17 Brix with Red Star bread yeast ferments like a rocket sled, and is clean and sweet as well. Our old mash tun can handle no more than 60 pounds of grain, and after 1.5 hours @ 149F, when we sparge to a collective 17 Brix, we collect about 21 gallons, so 60(.454)/(21)(3.875+whatever is retained) -> 27.3kg/(79.5 l + retained, maybe 6l) ->27.3/84.5=.323 kilos per liter, so real close to 10kg/30l.

    I could care less about the number (except to repeat the nice mash), but a fast, great-tasting ferment is valuable.

    Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller

    my book, Making Fine Spirits

  • 13kg malt in 30l will give you a 10.5% beer. Even if that was desirable from a distilling standpoint, your efficiency is likely to be down the gurgler.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • Ok, so always best to work backwards and and look for what you want your OG reading to be.

    This makes sense, as you can then work out what needs to be added to get that.

    Presumably the best way to test the results you get from your grain is by making a number of mashes and trialing?

    Also what is the rule with sparging. How did you calculate how much water to put in the mash and then how much you use for sparging?

  • edited March 2019

    If you use a brewing software package it does it for you, there are a number of them out there, some free.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

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